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Nobody likes talking about or thinking about funerals. In fact, I used to be terrified of funerals. I remember around 8 years ago, an elderly lady down my road passed away. And I had to plan my day around the time of her funeral because I was so terrified of seeing her coffin and the hearse. Which seems ridiculous to me now but that’s just an example of the effect the thought of funerals had on me once upon a time.
Photo by Ryan Crotty on Unsplash
But in August last year, my Granddad passed away after a short but brutal battle with lung cancer. It was expected and we all knew it was coming – it was just a matter of how long. It could have been weeks or months but my Granddad being as strong as an Ox, it ended up being months. But the battle got too hard for him and he passed away in August.
His funeral took place on 22nd August and I can hands down say it was one of the loveliest affairs. I know that sounds really odd, considering I’m talking about a funeral. But I’ve been to a fair few funerals and admittedly some are worse than others and there’s a variety of different reasons why that could be.
The service was in a lovely little chapel. The flowers were perfect. The service was perfect. Everything was just perfect. It was exactly as my Granddad would have wanted it. The minister even wore a Tottenham scarf for the duration of the service because that’s the football team my Granddad supported.
We’re all going to need to consider funeral care at some point. So it’s important to get it right, from reputable places, such as Heart of England Funeral Care. And I know you can NEVER say arranging a funeral is completely stress free. But there are definitely things you can do to make the process kinder on yourself and the loved ones involved.
Make sure you’re all on the same page
Chances are, you’ll be planning a funeral with other members of your family. Perhaps siblings or a parent. It can be so easy to trip over each other. So making sure everyone is on the same page right from the get go is really important for planning a stress free funeral.
Honor any wishes they’ve already laid out
The best way to avoid arguments when funeral planning is by honoring the wishes of the deceased that they might have laid out before they passed. Sometimes, the living just can’t make a damn decision, can they? So listen to the deceased instead. It’s their day.
Give guests enough notice
There’s likely going to be a number of people that will want to come to the funeral that you’re planning so it’s important to give them enough notice so they can make the appropriate arrangements so they’re able to come and pay their respects. The last thing you want is people missing out because you didn’t let them know.
Pre-plan (if possible)
Obviously not always possible, depending on the cause of death. But if you have a situation similar to ours with my Granddad, it might be an option to start pre-planning. I know it’s not nice to do or even think about doing. And some people just emotionally won’t be able to do this and that’s perfectly okay. But if you’re able, then this is a great way to ensure you have a stress free funeral for your loved one.
Host the reception somewhere convenient
Somewhere perhaps close to the cemetery or central as opposed to in the middle of nowhere and somewhere that’s hard to find. Just to make it as easy as possible for everyone involved. We had my Granddad’s wake in the pub near the crematorium. We hired out a whole section, had a buffet, tea and coffee and a nice little intimate area for family to sit and chat.
That’s just a few tips to help you plan a stress free funeral. Like I said, no funeral is completely stress free but there’s always something you can do to make it go a bit more smoothly. I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
The information in this post is going on my personal experience of a standard Christian funeral. I understand and respect that other religions may have procedures which differ to those I've mentioned in this post.
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My sister would like to hire a funeral planning service that will be able to help her out because her husband died two days ago. Well, I also agree with you that it would be smarter to hold it in the chapel. We’ll keep in mind to avoid arguments too since this will be a solemn ceremony.
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I actually think the loveliest funeral I’ve ever been to was my aunty’s. She was only 56 and died from cancer, but she’d managed to live a lot longer than she was expected to, and had a lot of time to plan her perfect ceremony. We had a very small intimate ceremony at the crematorium, just immediate family there to say goodbye. Then a proper ceremony at the church in her village. Absolutely everything was picked by her, the songs, the readings etc. The church was so packed that people had to stand. I cried the whole day but it was incredibly beautiful. Just honoring a person’s wishes is such a lovely way to celebrate who they were.
Awh that sounds lovely, especially as everything was picked by her. You know she would be looking in on it and be so happy with how it turned out.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post is extremely helpful, especially since grief can make it hard to focus. This post gives a nice, clear outline and some guidance too, thank you for sharing. I lost my step-dad to cancer. We lived in Spain at the time and things are so different there. You’ve no time to grieve at all. They die and the cremation is 2 days after. That was really hard and I wished I had this kind of a blog post to read at that time x
Oh wow really? Is that a religious thing or cultural thing?
I would say cultural tradition more than anything. I think it’s just historically, bodies would begin decomposition quicker being in such a hot country.
I can’t imagine having to plan a funeral right now. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this!
My nan died in January and when we went for dinner after the wake my mum decided that was the best time to ask me if I’d bury or cremate her if she dropped dead tomorrow. Her timing wasn’t exactly wonderful but that did prompt a conversation about wishes etc that I think everyone should have at some point. I’d hate to arrange something that I think is perfect but the person would have hated x
Oh Christ haha. I mean, it’s a valid question. We’ll all need to have that conversation eventually.
I love that you mentioned fulfilling their wishes. A lot don’t do this and it’s so important!
I know, it makes me sad.
So sorry for your loss 🙁
I’ve never had to but I imagine it’s such a heartbreaking and also stressful process x
So sorry about your grandad, I’m really glad the service was how he would have wanted it! These are all really useful ideas and would definitely take out some of the stress of planning a funeral. I wouldn’t have had the first clue where to start before xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
It can be really overwhelming for sure. Funeral directors make it an easier process though xx
These are really helpful – I wouldn’t have any idea where to start with something like this although hoping I won’t need this post any time soon! xx
Yeah of course hopefully not but it’s always handy to know for the future!
So very sorry for loss of your grandfather. His service does sound like it was very nice. We do want to honor our beloveds when they pass. We do that by honoring their uniqueness, their one of a kind identity. It is always a hard thing and people do not like to think about it. Still, it is best to know the personal wishes of our beloveds, because we treasure them, and ultimately we want to give them a proper send-off…to their forever home in heaven.
Totally agree xxx
I’m so sorry for your loss, as a cancer sufferer myself, I cannot wait for the day that we beat cancers arse! thank you so much for taking the time to provide us with these tips, how selfless of you.
It’s so hard not to feel the stress of planning a funeral, so it’s really good that you now want to use the experience to help out others. I love that you went with the exact funeral that your grandad would have wanted, there is nothing better than keeping his character alive. It is after all, a memory of his life. May he rest in eternal peace 💗
Really helpful tips Jenny, I know how hard it can be planning a funeral. We had quite a stressful time when both my granddad’s passed away just a week apart, we then had to get the funerals planned for both whilst feeling absolutely heartbroken. I know what you mean about it being a lovely day in the end though, I think its because you’re celebrating that persons life and the whole family and friends gather together. Sorry for your loss xxx
I’m so sorry for your loss, cancer is such a horrible disease. You’ve listed some great posts in this post and it will be helpful to so many people. My nan is in a scheme where she paid in and planned her funeral how she wanted it, so that all we have to do is choose a date when the time comes. I’d definitely recommend that and also if you choose to have a wake, do it in a hall or something away from houses (I’ve learnt this from experience)